By DAN KARELL
The partying in Sydney, Australia has already begun.
Australia earned automatic qualification for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil on Tuesday, defeating Iraq, 1-0, thanks to a late goal from substitute Joshua Kennedy at the ANZ Stadium in Sydney.
Eighteen days ago, the Socceroos position in qualifying was in question, but seven points from three games has ended any question of who deserves to play on the world’s biggest stage next summer. Kennedy’s headed goal in the 83rd minute against Iraq was enough to earn the three points for his nation, as they qualify for the third successive World Cup.
Australia finished with 13 points from eight games, four points behind first place Japan in AFC qualifying Group B, who qualified for the World Cup seven days ago. Iran won Group A after defeating South Korea, 1-0, in Ulsan, though South Korea also advanced to the World Cup automatically on goal difference. Uzbekistan finished third and will face a play-off against Oman this fall.
Here are some more stories to get your Tuesday started:
TAHITI GOAL HIGHLIGHTS DEFEAT TO NIGERIA
Over-matched Tahiti delighted fans of soccer across the globe, scoring a lone goal against Nigeria in a 6-1 defeat in Belo Horizonte at the Confederations Cup.
Jonathan Tehau, one of four family members on the Tahiti squad, rose over Celtic FC defender Efe Ambrose on a corner kick in the 54th minute, heading home past Nigeria’s goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama and setting off wild celebrations on the pitch, in the stands, and on the sidelines.
“It’s a first for our country. I’m very happy to have scored and to have made my mark on the history of Tahitian football, alongside my team-mates,” Tehau said after the match to FIFA.com. “My mind went blank when I scored; all I could think of was celebrating it properly with my friends.”
Though it didn’t get the proper coverage, Nigeria’s Nnamdi Oduamadi scored a hat trick, while Tehau became the first player to score a goal and an own goal in a Confederations Cup match.
CARROLL NEARS PERMANENT MOVE TO WEST HAM
Liverpool are set to cash in on Andy Carroll after just two and a half years under contract with the club since a $55.2 million move from Newcastle in 2011.
The English forward, who struggled to score at Anfield, spent last season with West Ham, and the Hammers have had a bid of $23.4 million accepted by Liverpool for the 24-year-old’s services. Carroll is set to complete a medical this week and the club sign a new contract, thought to extend through 2019.
Last season at Upton Park, Carroll scored seven times in 24 matches as he struggled at times with injury and inconsistency, something that has plagued him throughout his career.
Brazilian club Flamengo have officially appointed former Brazil coach Mano Menezes to be the club’s manager. (REPORT)
Manchester United have announced that they will play a friendly match in August in Stockholm, against local club AIK. (REPORT)
AC Milan is willing to listen to an offer from AS Monaco for midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng. (REPORT)
Hannover 96 have signed Borussia Dortmund youngster Leonardo Bittencourt on a four-year contract. (REPORT)
Newcastle United have appointed former controversial manager Joe Kinnear to be their Director of Football. (REPORT)
What do you make of these reports? Do you see Australia making a run in Brazil 2014? Happy that Tahiti scored? Think Carroll is making the right move?
Share your thoughts below.